Australian visa seekers urged to avoid price hike
IRISH workers planning to leave for Australia are being warned to apply for a visa as soon as possible to avoid price increases, writes Luke Byrne.
The Australian government has announced that it will raise the cost of entry visas for applicants by between 25-33pc from January.
Two of the most popular visas among Irish travellers -- the working holiday visa and the skilled worker 457 visa -- will increase by €55 and €83 respectively to €276 and €359.
Edwina Shanahan of visafirst.com said it has already had an increase in applicants trying to avoid the extra cost.
Ms Shanahan urged anyone who believed they would be leaving for Australia within the next year to apply now.
"Once you have your working holiday visa granted, you have a full year before you need to enter the country," she said.
The decision has already been criticised in Australia.
Evan Hall of Western Australia's tourism council said visitors such as backpackers were the cornerstone of its tourism.
"We are an expensive destination and we are becoming more expensive," he said.
More than 3,000 Irish people were granted visas for Australia last year, official figures show.